Now and then, we come across regular folk who do exceptional things that restore our faith in humanity.
This emotional post was shared on Facebook a couple of years ago, but it melts my heart every time I see it – so why not spread it forward?
It’s about a dad who talks about the day when a girl suddenly came into his office and asked permission to pop a question to his autistic son.
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Children with special needs often just want experiences similar to what any child their age might want. Finding a date for a school dance is a high priority for any 17-year-old, so it can be a tough blow to one’s self-confidence if no one agrees to go with them.
To go alone – though not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things – can be tantamount to social ruin for a teenager; failure to secure a partner can therefore pose a serious threat to self-confidence.
Some kids can be ultra-sensitive and do not yet have the tools they need to understand everything just yet – this applies even more to children with special needs, such as autism.
The father in this story, Mike Larson, decided to write down what happened when his autistic son, Jon, prepared for his high school prom. He then published the whole story on Facebook, where it has now been shared and liked by millions of people. Read it below!
“This is my son Jon with his prom date Maddi,” wrote Mike in the caption of his prom photo post. “He is a junior and he has autism. About a month ago, Maddi, a senior, came to my office (I’m a teacher at their school) and asked if Jon’s mom and I would allow her to take him to prom.”
Mike continued, “Maddi had gotten to know Jon through a school club that promotes friendships between special needs kids and regular kids. “He’s a junior,” she explained “so it’s his prom too. I just think he should have the chance to go.” I told her we would be honored to have him go with her.”
Not only did Maddi decide to take Jon to her senior prom, but she also wanted him to have the best night ever. She did some investigating and learned about Jon’s favorite color (orange), so she could get a dress in that color. She also booked a table for their group (they doubled with another couple) at the restaurant that served his favorite food – chicken fingers, French fries, and chocolate milk.
Before inviting Jon to the dance, Maddi wanted to ask his father if it would be okay.
“It was a pretty breathtaking moment for me,” Mike Larson told Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
According to Mike, he had three reasons for making the prom photo post on social media.
1. “to show support for special kids like Jon.”
2. “to show support for groups that promote these friendships.”
3. “to remind us all, in a time when we hear about all the terrible things going on, that there are wonderful kids like Maddi working to make other’s lives better.“
The viral prom photo was originally posted in 2013, and after that, Mike Larson continued to give updates on what happened to the couple after the prom.
In 2019, he celebrated that the post had reached 1 million shares and that his text had been spread worldwide. He also explained how everyone was doing: “Many have asked how Jon is doing. He is well and happy, still living at home.”
Mike also revealed that Maddi is now married and sometimes feels “embarrassed” by all the attention – she didn’t see this as a special thing. Mike concluded the post by saying, “Thanks to all who have wished them well.”
When Jon was diagnosed with autism more than 16 years ago, his father made up several scenarios in his head. One was that his son would never go to a prom because of his autism. But thanks to Maddi, Jon was not just able to go to prom but have a wonderful night!
”It’s something I never thought would happen for our family, and not only did it happen, but it’s happened in such a beautiful way,” Mike Larson said. ”And to have it go on and bless the lives of other people is beyond anything I ever could have hoped for. It will be one of the nicest memories of our lives.”
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I can really appreciate that there are still nice and warm people out there – it spreads hope to us all. If you also like this story, feel free to follow the father’s request and share it with your loved ones too!
This young lady is so sweet & considerate for asking his parents first I hope they had many photos taken of them to remember that special event!